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Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights

The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice’s Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights in the Americas convenes private-practice attorneys across the Americas to support the rule of law and the critical work of civil society, and to combat corruption throughout the region. The Council consists of eighteen lawyers from the United States and thirteen Latin American countries with experience as leaders of bar associations, board members of non-governmental organizations, and as pro bono practitioners, who design and implement multilateral, region-wide initiatives to address challenges to civil and economic rights in Latin America. This initiative’s launch has been generously funded by the Ford Foundation and the Tinker Foundation.

The Lawyers Council considers the rule of law to be fundamental to a successful business and a prosperous national economy. Indeed, businesses exist only as a result of laws permitting their establishment and providing them with powers and responsibilities. Their activities flourish in states in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.

Initiatives:

  • Anticorruption Initiative

The Council is convinced that corruption is one of the region’s most pressing challenges, given its complexity, intractability, and destructive effects on the rule of law. This initiative seeks systematically to map and guide legal efforts in Latin America to prevent and redress corruption, a widespread issue that handicaps business and society.  The initiative expands on current practice by looking beyond formal measures at actual experience from the perspective of a broad range of lawyers.

  • Strengthening of Judicial Independence

One of the most pressing challenges to the rule of law in Latin America is the lack of judicial independence. In some countries in the region, the judiciary is under attack by the executive branch, or laws and institutions do not allow judges to exercise their functions with independence and impartiality. Part of the weakness of the judiciary is related to the processes of the appointment of judges and magistrates, which do not favor optimal candidates and appointees.

Thus, the means of judicial appointments are fundamental to securing the rule of law. Clear and objective criteria for evaluating candidates favor experienced and competent candidates. Similarly, a transparent process open to civil society and the public discloses undue influence in the process that could affect the impartiality and independence of the judicial function.

The Lawyers Council views the appointments processes as an important indication of whether Latin American countries are adhering to the rule of law. This initiative seeks to engage with key sectors of the legal profession in countries in Latin America to asses the processes of appointment of members of the judiciary, as well as support efforts to build institutional capacity for independent courts.

  • Strengthening of Civil Society

The Council seeks to identify legal impediments to operating civil society organizations independently, and free from government overreaching. These efforts are designed to rally the legal profession to strengthen the rights and resources that will allow civil society to work effectively for the common good.

Projects

Support to Peru on the appointment process of the National Justice Board members

The Lawyers Council identifies the process of appointment of the members of the National Justice Board as relevant for the rule of law in Peru and the Latin American region....

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Support to Peru on the appointment process of the National Justice Board members

The Lawyers Council identifies the process of appointment of the members of the National Justice Board as relevant for the rule of law in Peru and the Latin American region. The National Justice Board is the new entity charged with appointing all Peruvian judges and prosecutors. The process resulted from a system-wide corruption scandal, popular referendum, and new legislation.

Last April 2019 a delegation of the Lawyers Council visited Lima to observe, and present recommendations for selecting the members of the National Justice Board. See more.

The Lawyers Council provides recommendations based on international and regional standards as well as an analysis of comparative experience in the region, to support the ongoing process and contribute to overcoming the problems of influence peddling and corruption in 2018. Download document (in Spanish):

Acompañamiento del Lawyers Council al Perú para el proceso de nombramiento de los miembros de la Junta Nacional de Justicia

 

Infographic: 12 Recomendaciones del Lawyers Council a la Comisión Especial para el proceso de nombramiento de los miembros de la Junta Nacional de Justicia

Support to Guatemala on the appointment process of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges

2019 is a complex year in Guatemala, since for the first time in 33 years all of the three branches of government are undergoing re-selection. Members of the legal community have expressed to the Vance Center concerns about the process of judicial appointments related to potential poli...

Read more
Close

Support to Guatemala on the appointment process of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges

2019 is a complex year in Guatemala, since for the first time in 33 years all of the three branches of government are undergoing re-selection. Members of the legal community have expressed to the Vance Center concerns about the process of judicial appointments related to potential political influence.

The Lawyers Council seeks to raise awareness of the process and promote the participation of the legal community in it, by strengthening the demand for transparency and accountability. Additionally, the Lawyers Council intends to further the discussion of needed structural reform to the judiciary in Guatemala.

The Lawyers Council identifies key considerations for the Nomination Commissions to comply with international and regional standards for the selection of members of the judiciary, based on international and regional standards as well as an analysis of comparative experience in the region. Download the document (in Spanish):

Acompañamiento del Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights a Guatemala para el proceso de nombramiento de Magistrados de la Corte Suprema de Justicia y Corte de Apelaciones

 

Infographic: 7 Recomendaciones del Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights a la comunidad jurídica en Guatemala para el nombramiento de los Magistrados de la Corte Suprema y de la Corte de Apelaciones.

 

Projects

Support to Peru on the appointment process of the National Justice Board members

The Lawyers Council identifies the process of appointment of the members of the National Justice Board as relevant for the rule of law in Peru and the Latin American region....

Read more
Close

Support to Peru on the appointment process of the National Justice Board members

The Lawyers Council identifies the process of appointment of the members of the National Justice Board as relevant for the rule of law in Peru and the Latin American region. The National Justice Board is the new entity charged with appointing all Peruvian judges and prosecutors. The process resulted from a system-wide corruption scandal, popular referendum, and new legislation.

Last April 2019 a delegation of the Lawyers Council visited Lima to observe, and present recommendations for selecting the members of the National Justice Board. See more.

The Lawyers Council provides recommendations based on international and regional standards as well as an analysis of comparative experience in the region, to support the ongoing process and contribute to overcoming the problems of influence peddling and corruption in 2018. Download document (in Spanish):

Acompañamiento del Lawyers Council al Perú para el proceso de nombramiento de los miembros de la Junta Nacional de Justicia

 

Infographic: 12 Recomendaciones del Lawyers Council a la Comisión Especial para el proceso de nombramiento de los miembros de la Junta Nacional de Justicia

Support to Guatemala on the appointment process of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges

2019 is a complex year in Guatemala, since for the first time in 33 years all of the three branches of government are undergoing re-selection. Members of the legal community have expressed to the Vance Center concerns about the process of judicial appointments related to potential poli...

Read more
Close

Support to Guatemala on the appointment process of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges

2019 is a complex year in Guatemala, since for the first time in 33 years all of the three branches of government are undergoing re-selection. Members of the legal community have expressed to the Vance Center concerns about the process of judicial appointments related to potential political influence.

The Lawyers Council seeks to raise awareness of the process and promote the participation of the legal community in it, by strengthening the demand for transparency and accountability. Additionally, the Lawyers Council intends to further the discussion of needed structural reform to the judiciary in Guatemala.

The Lawyers Council identifies key considerations for the Nomination Commissions to comply with international and regional standards for the selection of members of the judiciary, based on international and regional standards as well as an analysis of comparative experience in the region. Download the document (in Spanish):

Acompañamiento del Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights a Guatemala para el proceso de nombramiento de Magistrados de la Corte Suprema de Justicia y Corte de Apelaciones

 

Infographic: 7 Recomendaciones del Lawyers Council for Civil and Economic Rights a la comunidad jurídica en Guatemala para el nombramiento de los Magistrados de la Corte Suprema y de la Corte de Apelaciones.

 

Council Members

Argentina | Carolina Zang
Argentina | Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz
Brazil | Luciana Cossermelli Tornovsky
Brazil | Roberto Quiroga
Chile | Pablo Guerrero
Colombia | Paula Samper Salazar
Costa Rica | Vivian Liberman
Dominican Republic | Mary Fernandez
Ecuador | Hernan Perez Loose
Guatemala | Alfonso Carrillo
Mexico | Carlos Del Rio
Mexico | Valeria Chapa
Panama | Ramon Ricardo Arias
Peru | Alberto Rebaza
United States | Antonia Stolper
United States | Todd Crider
Uruguay | Marcela Hughes
Venezuela | Fernando Pelaez-Pier
Jaime Chavez Alor- Coordinator